A new patent application from Apple reveals a new invention that would allow future devices to also act as smoke detectors, which would be able to call 911 for emergency assistance in the event of a fire. Though fires and fire-related deaths are on the decline, in 2011, the US Fire Administration reported more than 1.3 million fires that resulted in 3,005 deaths, 17,500 injuries, and $11.7 billions in dollar loss. Apple would like to reduce these numbers even further.
The Nest smoke detector may look decidedly old-fashioned if one Apple patent ever makes it into production. Apple has patented the idea of embedding smoke detectors into “electronic devices” and using those devices to provide a comprehensive response to a fire. “In response to detecting smoke with the smoke detector, the electronic device may issue an alert or take other suitable action. The electronic device may transmit alerts to nearby electronic devices and to remote electronic devices such as electronic devices at emergency services facilities. Alerts may contain maps and graphical representations of buildings in which smoke has been detected. Motion detectors and other sensors and circuitry may be used in determining whether electronic devices are being used by users and may be used in determining where the electronic devices are located. Alerts may contain information on the location of detected smoke and building occupants.”